Psychological factorsArticle
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In an interview with Veszprém coach Lajos Mocsai points out mental aspects as his team approaches quarterfinals.

Psychological factors

Hungarian MKB Veszprém are living a special and very sad period of the club’s history. The team seem to slowly move on after the tragic loss of Marian Cozma – at least based on the performance on court. In the Champions League Main Round they have beaten Leon and Montpellier so far. talks to Lajos Mocsai before the game in Leon. What is the physical and mental condition of the team like?

Lajos Mocsai: I should call it changing. Our game against the Montpellier was above expectations. The team had a great moral and fought in a superb manner. We could implement our tactics against an open defence even more efficiently than I expected. I’m just a bit concerned that a setback could occur now on the third week. What do you expect from your team in Leon?

Mocsai: Ademar played a game on Wednesday and we will try to get a copy of that game. They are a physically very strong, professional team with great shooting power. Not by chance that so many people expected them to make it to the quarterfinals. They have a very good structure and the most important is to keep the fire alive – as we did it in the weeks after the death of Cozma.

We would like to show a motivated performance once again with lots of ambitions.

We will have three trainings practicing the tactics before this game. It was impossible to do the same before the first game because of the shock the players suffered and because of attending the funeral. Back then we had six trainings, but all in a state of shock that the professional vs. emotional factors were split one third to two thirds... You called players back from loan after the tragedy. How much can they fit in and find the rhythm?

Mocsai: Losing Sesum in the playmaker or back position is a major blow.

We lost Marian forever. Vilovski used to train with us, but he was not nominated for the CL before. He definitely has a lack of games, so we will be able to build him in the team step by step in defence and later next to Gyula Gál in attack. This will be a longer process, but he will be able to help us in defence. We are talking about a very good man, who will fit in soon.

Our second goalkeeper, Pesic, had little time in the Champions League behind Peric. Now Szilveszter Liszkai has to take more tasks. He is a talented and diligent boy, almost two metres tall. I wanted to bring him back already and now it happened in these sad circumstances.

Barna Putics also replied to our call. He had limited chance to play in Barcelona so far and he will spend more time on court here. As a back player, he has to understand our strategies first of all. I was his coach until last summer, so the work here is familiar for him. I was pleased to welcome him back.

The backbone of the team, Ilyés, Perez, Eklemovics, Vujin, Gál and the Iváncsik brothers, remains, we have about 10 players we can build on. The team fought with a lot of will and courage in the last two rounds. Realistically speaking, how far can the team get this season?

Mocsai:The big question is how big emotional reserves the players have.

A realistic objective is to reach the best eight teams. You cannot judge the chances based on one or two games. We had good periods against Leon, even more against Montpellier. It can also happen that the French will pull themselves together and they will come for points to Veszprém. They took it for granted that they would beat us there and back.

I cannot tell you up to what point our will and fighting spirit will carry us, but I hope for the best. But first of all I just really hope that two weeks from now – going step by step – a Hungarian team will be there among the eight best squads.

TEXT: Ildikó Balogh (